Organization of the mental lexicon in the process of students’ foreign languages learning

Keywords: mental lexicon, foreign languages, vocabulary, memory, mnemonic techniques


The article reveals mental lexicon and its role in a process of students’ mastering foreign languages. It is emphasized that successfull foreign language communication is largely determined by a level of lexical skills that provides students with an ability to understand and use appropriate lexical units in a proper situation. It is noted that a basis of a structure of human vocabulary is given by an associative and verbal network, which acts as a way of representing linguistic consciousness and means of access to a full scope of encyclopaedic and linguistic knowledge stored in memory and accompanied by emotional impressions and a system of rules and evaluations that are superimposed on knowledge. Important approaches to preservation and access to the meaning of the word in the mental lexicon are associative, parametric, situational, and prototype approaches.

It is stressed that students must have lexical, grammatical, and also communicative skills for successful acquisition of a foreign language. The formation of the first one consists in a formation and consolidation in consciousness (mental lexicon) of a student of stable associative connections between a sound (graphic) shape of foreign language lexical units (words, stable phrases) and their conceptual content. As for vocabulary learning, this means finding elements in a mental vocabulary to relate them with new lexical units.

The processes of memory and mnemonic methods of memorizing lexical units are considered (the key word method, a technique of loci, a system of «words-hangers», verbal families, etc.) involved in a formation of foreign language lexical skills. The processes that occur in the mental space of the individual during the memory of the lexical units are described. The role of mnemonic methods of memorizing lexical units among students is determined and proved. It is noted that the mental vocabulary is related to the ability of students to keep in their own memory and to withdraw from it a certain number of necessary words in the process of constant communication.


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Author Biography

Nataliia Borysova, SHEE «Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University»

Ph. D in Pedagogics, Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor at the Chair for Foreign Philology, Translation and Methods of Education

How to Cite
Borysova, N. (2018). Organization of the mental lexicon in the process of students’ foreign languages learning. Theoretical and Didactic Philology, (28), 16-25. Retrieved from